Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that results in confusion and memory loss. It is a progressive disease in which important connections in the brain begin to die, leading to the death of brain cells. This results in reduced memory abilities.
New studies, however, show that certain cognitively stimulating activities can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or prevent its appearance.
What is a Cognitively Stimulating Activity
In short, a cognitively stimulating activity is one that uses a high level of brain function. Any activity that requires individuals to solve problems, make adjustments in their strategy or behavior, use flexible thinking, or consider their own strategies requires a high level of cognitive activity. This activity helps to use different parts of the brain, especially ones that are destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease.
What Activities are Good for Cognitive Stimulation
There are many activities that cause high levels of cognitive stimulation that many consider games. Things like cards, crossword puzzles, word searches, and Sudoku Puzzles activate many essential parts of the brain. Other normal everyday activities that require a high amount of planning and organization such as reading books, writing to make lists, and cooking are also good for cognitive stimulation. Social activities such as visiting friends and family also help to stimulate different areas of the brain.
How do Cognitively Stimulating Activities Help
Since these activities seem so simple, it may seem strange that they can help prevent the onset or progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Many scientists are still trying to figure this out However, research points to cognitively stimulating activities changing the actual structure of the brain as well as its function. Those who perform a certain task repetitively will become better at that task. As a result, it will take longer before those skills go away.
How to Proceed
If you or a loved one is concerned about an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in the future, it’s important to begin cognitively stimulating activities as soon as possible. These activities are thought to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 5 years. The earlier a person begins building strength in the brain, the more resilience they are likely to develop.